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Cannes artists discuss copyright in Europe's digital single market

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Cannes artists discuss copyright in Europe's digital single market


Away from the red carpet at the Cannes film festival the issue of copyright has come up for debate.

The French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was among senior figures who say artists’ rights must be protected as Europe heads towards a digital single market.

EU proposals are wide in scope and include everything from harmonising cross-border taxes and regulation, to cooperation on Europe’s digital infrastructure and an overhaul of EU copyright law.

Fleur Pellerin, the French Minister for Culture and Communication, says a digital pact must not lead to a lack of cultural diversity, however:

“We are ready to modernise this copyright. But we’re not ready to throw all the things we’re proud of out of the window: the cultural diversity; the fact that today Europe is capable of producing films like Ida the magnificent Polish film; but also Lucy and Timbuktu. You see, that is the cultural diversity we have today and that’s what we’re not ready to put in danger tomorrow.”

The creation of a digital single market has been listed among the top 10 priorities for President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

He says too many barriers still block the free flow of online services and entertainment across national borders and the Commission is in the process of updating EU single market rules for the digital era.

The big stumbling block for authors is that the proposals involve abolishing geo-blocking of content, which they see as incompatible with protecting copyright.

Geo-blocking is the process by which copyright owners from one country block users from another country from accessing their content online.

The film and television industry depends on the ability to sell content to individual territories and without territorial exclusivity, they say, the system falls apart.

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